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Ben Smith sticks with New Zealand rugby

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/02/2017

All Black Ben Smith has resisted lucrative overseas offers to re-sign with New Zealand through to 2020.

The Highlanders skipper admits it's been an interesting few months in working through what was best for his family and career.

"In the end, we're happy with our decision to stay in New Zealand," he said on Tuesday.

"Obviously the Highlanders, All Blacks and Otago are teams that I really enjoy playing for and I'm pretty excited about a few of the opportunities and challenges we'll have over the next few seasons."

Smith, 30, has made 61 Test appearances, scoring 27 tries, and was the member of the 2015 World Cup-winning side.

As part of the new deal, the fullback/winger has an option of an extended non-playing break to manage his workload and an early termination option after the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said it was great news to have "the most consistent player in world rugby" stay in New Zealand.

"It's a real confidence booster for us to keep a player of this calibre in our country," he said.

"We now look forward with excitement knowing that our vice-captain is going to be with us through to 2020."

Highlanders coach Tony Brown said the Super Rugby franchise were delighted to have Smith back leading the side.

"More than being the consummate professional and a great rugby player, he's just an outstanding Highlander man."

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